A new annual art prize has been announced by the Freelands Foundation. The Freelands Artist Award will enable a regional arts organisation to present an exhibition, including a significant new work, by a mid-career female artist. The £100,000 prize money aims to support an artist who has not yet achieved the acclaim and public recognition that their work deserves. A shortlist of six regional organisations will be released in summer 2016, and the winner of the inaugural award will be announced in autumn 2016.
The Award is being launched in response to a report, commissioned by the Foundation in 2015, which found that although female art and design graduates outnumber men, women are not adequately represented at, and beyond, a mid-career point. For example, the report found that of the artists selected to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale only 33% were women. An audit of solo shows featured in the exhibition programme of 134 commercial galleries in London in 2012-13 found that only 31% of the represented artists were women and in 43 non-commercial galleries outside London in 2014-15, only 40% of the shows were by female artists. For organisations in receipt of more than £1m Arts Council England/DCMS funding, the figure drops to 25%.
Award Eligibility The term ‘mid-career’ applies to an artist who has had significant experience of exhibiting or of fulfilling commissions. The eligible artist will be living and working in the UK but does not need to be from the UK. The selection panel for the 2016 Award winner is: Elisabeth Murdoch (Chair), Teresa Gleadowe (Curator), Phyllida Barlow (Artist) Jenni Lomax (Director, Camden Arts Centre) and Martin Clark (Director of Kunsthall, Bergen, Norway).
The Freelands Foundation is a newly established charity with a mission to support artists and cultural institutions, broaden audiences for the visual arts and enable all young people to actively engage with the creation and enjoyment of art. The Foundation is investing in art education and is particularly focused on the support and training of teachers. The Foundation is hosting an all day event at Tate Modern, Art is… on Saturday 9 April 2016 featuring talks, conversations, films, performances and the opportunity to meet organisations and individuals with interests in art and education.